As you look at Yolanda Frederikse’s current show (either online or in person), you may be struck by her use of watercolor. Yes, these are watercolors, but they are also prints, specifically, Watercolor Monotypes. Here is how the process works:
1. First, the artist (Yolanda is shown here and below) paints onto an aluminum lithograph plate. To the left, you can see Yolanda preparing a plate, to the right is a fully prepared plate. The plate is then left to dry.
2. The dry plate is positioned on the press bed.
3. Dampened paper is laid over the print (on the left) and the entire thing is run through the press (on the left). The damp paper re-activates (re-wets) the watercolors on the aluminum plate, allowing for the transfer to happen.
4. We have a print! As the name implies, this usually only yields one print per plate. Occasionally, however, there may be enough pigment left on the plate for a strong second image or a weaker ghost image.
Your first question may be “why the extra step? Why not just make a watercolor?” Yolanda answers, saying “effects are achieved with monotype are not possible in other forms of art [such as watercolor].” In Yolanda’s watercolor monotypes in particular, one can see a certain uniformity of mark-making and color: this is in part from the artist herself but also from a flattening, if you will, of how the paper uniformly picks up color off the plate. Also, we like the tell-tale print edge, where the plate indented the paper, that is present on these monotypes.
Sorry for the delay (camera trouble). Here’s some installation shots of Old World and New: Apart, Though Still a Part in the main gallery space as well as the traveling mezzotint exhibition Both Sides of the Brain currently in the Press Room!
“Kitchen Worker” by Lee Newman
Below are Laura D.’s thoughts on our July Exhibition:
This month at the Washington Printmakers Gallery, Three Figurative Printmakers features works from Jack Boul, Robert D’Arista, and Lee Newman in the “American University Style.” Needless to say, this exhibit carries its own style amongst three different artists compared to past exhibits with multiple artists. Boul, D’Arista and Newman’s work compliments each other well – as their work reflects aesthetic values that came from the Studio House school of painting at the Phillips Collection.
The style of works is based mostly around monotypes; little color is seen throughout the exhibit – giving it a certain glow of darkness. Boul’s work is the most abstract, with works like Four Cows where one must look to find said cows; while Newman’s gives the eye more shapes and images to play with. This includes Studio Nude – this print shows the figure and minimum detail, but just enough for the eye to continue to dance across the piece. Finally, D’Arista is a combination between the two. D’Arista includes pieces that are more abstract like Still Life with Tusche where, without looking at the title the subject matter isn’t immediately clear. Is it an apple and a bucket? Or a branch on a platter? The viewer must decide (or look at the title). But then D’Arista has more self-explanatory pieces like Seated Woman – which gives you the shapes, outlines, and shadows, that are also seen in Newman’s works.
These Three Figurative Printmakers could not have a more complimentary style. While each is unique in their own creativity, their use of monotype and other materials brings the collection together in a number of pieces that make the eyes dance across pieces from the flow of lines and shadows.
Here is a quick slideshow of some of the work up in the gallery this month from Three Figurative Printmakers as well as Eric Robinson’s Press Room Mini Solo, Fragments. This is by no means exhaustive–Eric has over 600 small prints up, Three Figurative Printmakers has 47 prints, and then there’s the member show as well, not pictured here. Come in and visit us!
“Cafe” by Jack Boul
The show is up! We’ll have pictures tomorrow (we’re still working on getting some labels up) but we thought you might want to know a little more about the three printmakers, which we introduced in a previous post, and their relationship.
Both Jack Boul and Robert D’Arista were teachers of Lee Newman’s. The American University Style that characterizes them grew out of the Studio School at the Phillips Collection. The Phillips Collection was one of the first modern-focused museums in the area. At the time, most fine art programs were based at museums, like the Corcoran School of Art is today. American University, at the time of Boul, D’Arista, and student Lee, was one of the first schools in the area to have a fine arts program outside of a direct museum affiliation. Today, many schools have their own independent fine arts programs, but it was unusual back then.
“Seated Figure” by Robert D’Arista
While all three of these artists have worked in different media, this show focuses on the three for which they are each best known: Jack Boul’s monotypes, Robert D’Arista’s drypoints, and Lee Newman’s (soft-ground) etchings. Robert D’Arista would make his own drypoint and engraving tools, smashing semi-precious stones and then supergluing the fragments into a mechanical pencil. These uniquely shaped tools give his drypoints a distinct quality.
“Kitchen Worker” by Lee Newman
After D’Arista passed, Lee Newman received many of his plates from which to print editions. Lee said he had to study D’Arista’s mark-making all over again, as well as the prints he printed himself, to recreate D’Arista’s special way of wiping. Lee said his style of wiping a plate simply did not work with D’Arista’s images.
We hope you’ll join us for the Artist Reception with Jack and Lee on Sunday, July 8, 2-5 pm. Check back tomorrow for installation shots!
"Albedo" monotype by Kiyomi Baird
WPG is pleased to welcome Kiyomi Baird as a new artist member. You may remember Kiyomi from her solo show in August, as the winner of last year’s National Small Works Exhibition. If you didn’t get a chance to see her beautiful work, you can see some of the pieces that were included in her show on the website. We have additional pieces exclusively in the gallery, as well.
Kiyomi says of her work “I create abstract spaces and forms that explore the movements of the cosmos and the mysteries of the mind. Both these dimensions…physical and spiritual…are infused with the same universal life force which expresses itself through an infinite variety of elemental shapes.” We think that Kiyomi’s monotypes inspire a calming, meditative mood, especially her works in blue, and are perfect for anywhere in your home or office that needs a little bit more tranquility. Stop by the gallery and pick out your favorite!